El Rincon de Rafa

Address: Longworth Street (off St John Street), Manchester, M3 4BQ, England
Telephone: 0161 839 8819

- Mid-range

4.6

A taste of Spain is hidden away down a back street in Manchester’s city centre.

One of my favourite places to eat in the city centre, El Rincon is a hard place to find but well worth the hunt. Owned by an ex Stockport County player, the Spanish restaurant is always busy so, if you don't book, be prepared to wait for a table (it is not possible to book for tables of two).

Food and drink
4.6
90%
Service
4.4
90%
Food and drink
4.6
90%
Value for money
4.6
90%
Ambience
4.5
90%
Location
4.2
90%

Food and drink

The extensive menu is crammed full of classic tapas dishes such as tortilla Espanola (£3.95), patatas bravas (£3.75) and paella as well as Spanish broths, salads and a good range of meats and fish. Portions are generous and the food temptingly moreish - I always over-order. The house wine is very drinkable (especially the Rioja) and reasonably priced.

Recommended dishes

My test of a good tapas restaurant is the simple dish patatas bravas. In El Rincon, the tomato sauce is rich with a spicy kick and the portion is big enough to share between two – perfect!

Ambience

Stepping into the high-ceilinged cellar room is like walking into a tapas bar in Spain; the white table cloths are paper, there are barrels above the wooden bar and the mismatched pictures on the wall sit next to football shirts. Diners include groups celebrating birthdays, couples and businesspeople from local offices during the week. There is always a buzz in this restaurant so don’t come expecting a quiet meal.

Service

The Spanish staff are friendly and the food usually arrives quickly.

Location

On a small side street parallel to Deansgate, El Rincon can be tricky to find. Take St John Street off Deansgate and take your first right down Longworth Street. Persevere - visitors to Manchester always look worried when I lead them down a small back street behind a nightclub - and look out for the restaurant’s Cruzcampo sign.

Price advice

Tapas dishes start at £2.15 and main courses cost around £13.

Recommended for

  • Business travellers
  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Mature travellers
  • Celebrity spotting
  • Escaping the crowds
  • No fuss
  • Chilling out

Details